Frequently Asked Questions

Mission and Vision

Why does the National Speech & Debate Association exist?

The NSDA was originally founded as the National Forensic League, which Bruno E. Jacob, of Ripon College in Wisconsin, created to motivate high school students to participate in speech and debate activities. Today, the organization’s mission is to connect, support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate.

We envision a world in which every student has access to membership in the National Speech & Debate Association, providing the educational resources, competitive opportunities, and expertise necessary to foster their communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative skills.

Membership is the primary gateway to those benefits, but we also provide leadership in topic development, rulemaking, and the setting of competitive and ethical standards that help facilitate the activity at a local and national level. Many resources we create or curate are publicly available for new coaches and programs to get started and create a fair and inclusive environment for speech and debate students.

Local and National Leadership

Where does the NSDA operate?

The organization’s national headquarters are in West Des Moines, Iowa. Our national staff are based there and in a few remote locations around the country. The NSDA Board of Directors is comprised of individuals elected at-large from around the country and other professionals appointed by the Board for their expertise and commitment to the activity.

At the local level, the NSDA is represented by District Committees, of which there are 111. The five committee members, led by a district chair, are elected by the advisors of active NSDA schools every two years to serve in this role. Each district holds its own district tournament, the qualifying tournament for Nationals for high school students, and finds ways to support the growth and development of local programs. High schools are assigned a district after joining the organization.

How do I pursue a leadership role in the NSDA?

District leadership elections are held every two years, in odd-numbered years. In the election, each chapter advisor may cast a ballot online for members of the District Committee from a list of coaches who are active (affiliated with a school) in the district. Each school has one vote.

The first step is to let your fellow district coaches know you are interested in serving. Coaches who work with teams in more than one geographic district may stand for election to both districts. However, the coach may only serve on one district committee at one time. In the event of election to two districts, the coach will be required to choose one district to serve and decline the other spot.

Board of Directors elections are conducted in even numbered years. Any member coach with five years of Association coaching experience (i.e., coaching as an NSDA member) may become a candidate for the Board by advising the Executive Director in writing before January 20 of the even numbered year via certified mail.

All candidates are alloted a column in Rostrum, our coach magazine, to support their candidacy. Each chapter votes online for up to four directors, and each active member school can cast one ballot.

Other, less formal options for leadership exist at the National Tournament and through resource creation or member feedback groups throughout the year. Volunteers are essential to maximizing our output as a nonprofit organization! Please contact director@speechanddebate.org if you would like to be considered for this type of contribution.

Membership Sign-Up and Renewal

How do I sign up for the first time or renew?
  • If you have never created an account on our website, do so at www.speechanddebate.org/join. Once you have registered yourself, you can request to be linked to a school in our database. Once you are connected to the school, you can renew its membership using the navigation bar on the left of your account page. Follow this same process if your school was a member last year but you are a new advisor.
  • Likewise, returning schools can be renewed by advisors logging into their account at www.speechanddebate.org/account.
  • Currently, coaches who advise at both a high school and a middle school must maintain separate accounts for each type, and will complete this process through both accounts.
  • High school membership is $149, with an option to upgrade to the all-school Resource Package for an additional $199. Each individual student who becomes a lifetime member is $20.
  • Middle school membership is $75, with an option to upgrade to the all-school Resource Package for an additional $199. Each individual student is $10.
  • To finalize the renewal, create an invoice and proceed to checkout.

Need a Visual? Click here to watch our brief tutorial!
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The previous advisor left the school. How do I make myself the current advisor?

Mid-year advisor changes require a letter from the principal, on school letterhead, indicating that there is a change in advisor and who that advisor is. The letter can be scanned and emailed to us at info@speechanddebate.org or sent via U.S. mail to 401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730.

May homeschooled students join the National Speech & Debate Association?

Students must join a member school in order to be eligible for membership as an individual. A school is an accredited, diploma-granting public or private entity recognized by the state. In most states, homeschooled students must compete in academic or extracurricular activities through their zoned school district. The NSDA looks to the individual states to determine what makes for a recognized school. If your state recognizes individual homeschools for participation in school-based activities, your homeschool may be eligible for membership. Contact your state’s activities association to find out more or email info@speechanddebate.org with the subject line “Homeschooling.”

Getting Started as a Member

What are the first things I should do after joining?

Learning the Basics: Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Check out our New Coach Quick Start Guide and we’ll help you through the beginning stages of setting up your school profile and adding students to your team. If you get stuck, just reach out and let us know!

Event Overview: It’s time to see what your students can do with your new membership! The sheer number of choices for speech and debate activities can be overwhelming. Explore the Competition Events page to see descriptions of events, sample videos, and explanations from students. You’ll be an expert in no time!

Interested in what students are debating right now? Head over to the Topics page to take a look and remember, now you can help us select upcoming topics!

Access Resources: As a member, you have access to speech resources, debate evidence and updates, lesson plans, webinars, and videos. Visit our Resource page and skim what’s available or use the filter boxes to sort by event.

Prepare to Learn, Compete, & Earn Points: Check out tournaments in your area on our Calendar and start planning to bring your team out for their first speech and debate experience. Your students will earn points through speech and debate competition, as well as community service, public speaking, and leadership activities.

While your students learn and grow, remember to plan your development as a coach by perusing our professional development options and the conference page.

Explore the Honor Society: Students of member schools are eligible to join our Honor Society! Add students to your roster and purchase their membership at any time. The first Degree of Merit in our society is achieved at 25 points, which may come from a combination of competition and service. Students will earn higher degrees by earning more points. Be sure to dive in to the different levels of distinction and the Code of Honor!

And don’t forget, you’ll be working toward higher degrees, too! Coaches receive one point for every ten merit points earned by their students. You’ll earn Association membership and advanced standing at the same milestones as your students. Explore coach and school recognition here!

School Roster and Points Management

What is points entry and how do I do it?

One of the cornerstone offerings of membership is the Honor Society, which allows school to maintain their student roster online on our website and add points for their participation in competitive events and service activities. As these points accumulate, students achieve higher levels, or degrees, in the Honor Society. Coaches also earn a portion of the students’ points toward their own levels of recognition.

Students can be added to rosters and given points before they are made members by paying the fee, and can earn up to 75 points before the advisor decides to purchase their membership. Points can be added manually by the advisor, who can enter results from tournaments for each student, or automatically if the tournament runs via Tabroom.com or Joy of Tournaments (see the Account and Roster Management Guides for more help).

When a student earns 25 points, they earn the Degree of Merit, which makes them eligible to compete at the district tournament. For more information on earning degrees, view the Student Recognition and Coach Recognition sections of our Honor Society page.

How do I confirm pending auto posted points?
  1. Go to www.speechanddebate.org and click on Account in the top right corner of the page. Use your username and password to log in to your account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be on your profile page.
  2. On the left side of your screen, click on Enter Points. If you have auto posted points that you need to confirm, a screen will load that has the title Confirm Pending Auto Posted Points for <School Name>.
  3. If you are concerned that the pending auto posted points were manually entered, click the box next to words Show overlaps with manual points. This will highlight the already-entered points in red.
  4. Check the auto posted entries for result and coach accuracy. Change the coach as needed. When ready to confirm points, click on the blue outlined button that says Confirm.If you’d like to confirm all auto posted points, you may also click on Confirm All.
  5. If a pending auto post entry shows incorrect results, then you should contact Tabroom.com or The Joy of Tournaments because the actual results may need editing. Or, you can manually enter points for the same dates as the auto posted tournament and not use the auto posted points.
How do I correct points that have been entered incorrectly?

Note: In order to maintain accurate records, points are not editable. If points have been entered incorrectly, the record must be deleted and re-entered. This allows the NSDA to maintain a record of all changed/deleted points.
 

  1. Go to speechanddebate.org and click on Account in the top right corner of the page. Use your username and password to log in to your account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be on your profile page.
  2. On the left side of your screen, click on Enter Points. The screen that opens will say Enter Points for <School Name>. (Note: If Auto Posted points need to be confirmed you’ll instead see a screen requesting you to do so. For more information about this process, see the directions for Confirming Pending Auto Posted Points. If you’d like to skip confirming auto posted points, click on the red outline box that says Not now, skip to manual entry.)
  3. Scroll down to the points in the table at the bottom that need to be corrected and click the red trash icon in that row (in the Delete? column). The page will ask you to confirm your choice to delete. Click Confirm in the orange box.
  4. You’ll know you successfully deleted the points when they disappear from your screen.
  5. Reenter the points in question as if entering them for the first time.
  6. Repeat as needed.
Can I manually add points to more than one student at a time?

There are ways to make points entry for multiple students more efficient.

1) Entering points in partner events: Add a row and provide information for one student, then use the “Clone a Row” (icon: two overlapping boxes) function on the far right of that row to create a new entry for which you only need to change the student’s name to their partner’s.

Need a Visual?  Click here to watch our brief tutorial!

2) Entering all the points for one event at once: Add a row and provide the event and coach to whom the points will go, then click the “Bulk Add” button to select all the students who competed in that event for whom you want to apply points. Once you’ve added all the students, use the “Clone to All” (icon: the blue group) on the far right of the first student’s row to apply the event and coach information to all the entries. Then enter the appropriate points for each student, hit “Finish,” and you can do the same thing for another event.

Need a Visual?  Click here to watch our brief tutorial!

3) Entering service points for a group: Follow the same steps you would to enter several students in the same event, but also complete the service description and results to apply all the information to the students you’ve submitted in “Bulk Add” at once using the “Clone to All” function.

Help! I forgot my username/password or can't get signed in!

If you’re having trouble getting signed in, you can reset your password or have your username automatically emailed to you by clicking the links on the Login page, or using the direct links below:

Forgot your password?

Forgot your username?

Make sure to check your spam folder if you don’t get the reset/reminder email!

If you didn’t sign up using an email address, there’s no way for us to email you – so you’ll need to contact us.

How do I add a student?
  1. Go to speechanddebate.org and click on Account in the top right corner of the page. Use your username and password to log in to your account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be on your profile page.
  2. On the left side of your screen, click on School Roster. The screen that opens will say Student Roster for <School Name>.
  3. Click the + Add Student button, and the screen will change to show you fields that allow you to input information about the student. First name and last name are required entries, as is clicking the box that confirms the student has accepted and will adhere to the NSDA Honor Code. Once you’ve done those things, click the blue Add button.
  4. If the process was successful, a green notification will slide onto the right of your screen (it doesn’t stay for very long, so be on the lookout!).
    • (optional) If you’d like to set up the student’s NSDA website username and password, you may do so once you’ve added them to your roster. Find their name in your list, and in the account column, you’ll see + Add if they do not have a login set already. If you click on Add, you as the coach can set one for them.
  5. Repeat as needed.

Need a Visual?  Click here to watch our brief tutorial!

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How do I transfer the record of a student from a middle school or another high school?

On the School Roster, go to “Transfer Student” and enter their name and state to search for the correct student record. Choose to “Transfer” and then confirm. If the student is coming from middle school to high school, it will transfer 1/10 of their middle school points to the high school record. Existing high schoolers will carry all of their points over.

Need a Visual?

Transfer using Name and State

Transfer using Merit Number

How do I transfer the record of a former high school competitor to a coach?

On the School Roster, go to “Transfer Coach” and enter their name as a student as well as the state to search for the correct student record. Choose to “Transfer” and then confirm. Once you do this it will enter the coach with 1/10th of their high school points.

Need a Visual?

Transfer using Name and State

Transfer using Merit Number

How do I purchase individual student/coach memberships?

Individual memberships are no longer automatically charged to your school account. Advisors must select the students for which they’d like to buy memberships and create invoices for those memberships. Memberships and invoices can be made/paid for in groups or individually.

  1. Go to speechanddebate.org and click on Account in the top right corner of the page. Use your username and password to log in to your account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be on your profile page.
  2. On the left side of your screen, click on School Roster. The screen that opens will say Student Roster for <School Name>. If you’d like to pay for a coach, you must click the blue box that says Coaches to switch to the coaching roster before continuing.
  3. Next to each student’s name (in the Member column) will either be a blue checkmark or a red “X” and the word Buy. Click Buy and the next screen will show all of the students whose memberships need to be paid.
  4. Use the slider to the left of each name to select which students you wish to add to your invoice. Once you’ve selected the appropriate names, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue outlined box that says Create Invoice and Proceed to Checkout.
  5. The screen will show a red rectangle that reads Your balance of <$XX.XX> is outstanding. Next to that text will be a blue button that reads Pay Now. When you click that button, you’ll be taken to the invoice screen.
  6. Click on the blue number for the invoice you’d like to pay, then choose and provide the required payment method information, and then click the blue outlined box that says Pay. If you’re paying by credit card, you must pay your entire balance. (Please note, credit card payments have a 3% processing fee assessed.) To pay individual invoices, we ask that you print the invoice, include a check, and mail to to us at our West Des Moines office.

Need a Visual?  Click here to watch our brief tutorial!

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Competition and Rules

Where can I find a complete set of rules?

The complete set of rules is located in our Unified Manual.

Be sure to read the complete sections on event rules and note that the newest revisions to rules are indicated with a yellow highlight and items with a gray highlight are a year old. A complete revision history is in the back of the manual, too.

Finally, we update our manual after Board meetings. Look in newsletters for alerts about changes.

I'm unsure about a rule. How do I get clarification?

There are some casebook scenarios that are part of the manual which may shed light on how rules are interpreted. However, you can always email info@speechanddebate.org to get a clarification after reading the manual.

How do I suggest a rule change?

The NSDA Board of Directors has a committee that examines competition rules throughout the year. You can send recommended rules changes to info@speechanddebate.org.

For your proposal to have the greatest clarity, please include the original rule that exists and the suggested revision. If it’s an addition, indicate where in the manual you think it would make the most sense and why. Finally, provide a clear rationale to be considered.

How are debate topics chosen?

There are different processes for selecting Policy Debate compared to Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum Debate topics.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) handles selection of the annual Policy Debate topic. Each state organization, the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA), the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL), and the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) all have voting privileges. The national office submits one vote on behalf of the NSDA following voting by the membership.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Public Forum Debate have topic wording committees that accept topic ideas from the membership, discuss topic areas, and craft language for resolutions. Resolutions are then forwarded to the membership for vote by students and coaches during each voting period.

If you have topic ideas, please use our topic submission forms to forward your suggestions to the appropriate committee. Visit our current topics page for more details!

Can I earn points for participation in Model United Nations?

Yes, you may earn points for MUN, Mock Trial, and several other types of events, including theatre performances. Review the Unified Manual for information on recording points for service, non-competitive events, or non-Association events.

To see FAQs related to Interp rules, click here.

District Qualification Series

I’ve never attended a district tournament before. How does it work?

The district tournament series is unique from many tournament experiences. It is called a series because many districts hold qualifying tournaments for different events on different dates. Students who compete at the district tournament are attempting to qualify for a chance to compete at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

The tournament series is run by your district committee, which is a group of five individuals elected by the members of your district. Lean on them for guidance to help make sense of the process because the tournament is distinct in how it operates from many other tournaments during the year.

One of the unique aspects of the tournament is that students may not compete in the tournament without being members with a Degree of Merit (see the Eligibility Requirements FAQ below). Also, the number of entries afforded a school is limited based upon the school’s overall strength. Given the standards for entry, getting an opportunity to compete at the district tournament is an honor for your student.

What are the eligibility requirements for entering the NSDA district tournament?

Schools must be members of the NSDA. To join the NSDA please visit speechanddebate.org/join.

Individual students must be paid members with at least 25 points in the honor society (10 points of which must be from competition, not service).

For questions about membership and point requirements please review our Unified Manual, which can be found here.

Additionally, if there’s anything we can do to help you with the process please email info@speechanddebate.org.

What do I need to know about partner events with national qualification?

Students can only participate in one event at the national tournament, which we refer to as single entry. Partnered events always take precedence; i.e., you may not leave your partner behind. If students qualify in a partner event, that event must be taken to nationals unless both students qualify in another event. A student’s preferences must be indicated on the Single Entry Letter of Intent prior to the start of the district qualifying tournament.

If students are double entered in two partner events (e.g., Public Forum and Duo) students must have the same partner in both events. If one partner is not able to attend the National Tournament, other partners may not be substituted, and the remaining student cannot take the other event – the partnership event will be dropped entirely.

Be sure to review all rules related to partnership events by downloading the High School Unified Manual or email info@speechanddebate.org with follow up questions.

Professional Development

What is NSDA Professional Accreditation? Why should a teacher obtain accreditation?

The National Speech & Debate Association is proud to recognize outstanding members for their expertise in coaching and teaching speech and debate. Our Professional Accreditation Program recognizes coaches and educators who are committed to furthering their education and skills to better meet the needs of their students.

In an educational climate where school administrators and districts look for documentation of professional development and recognition for activity in the profession, as a respected and established high school speech and debate organization, the National Speech & Debate Association strives to meet that need through our Professional Accreditation program.

More information about the Professional Accreditation Program, including the necessary requirements and paperwork, can be found under the Programs tab.

What kinds of professional development does the NSDA offer to coaches and teachers?

The NSDA has a virtual professional development portal called CONNECT that can be found at NSDAConnect.org and is free to join and use. As part of CONNECT educators can collaborate, share and save resources, and take speech and debate specific self-paced professional development courses.

Additionally, the NSDA holds an annual educator’s conference that specifically seeks to provide professional development opportunities for coaches and educators at all levels. More information about this year’s conference can be found under the Upcoming Events tab.

What kinds of resources and training does the NSDA offer to new coaches?

Coaches are such an important part of the speech and debate experience. For coaches who are new to the activity or new to coaching we offer a New Coaches Training Course which is part of our virtual professional development portal called CONNECT. This course covers most of the basic and foundational things a coach needs to know to start the season off successfully. It also puts new coaches directly into contact with our Community Engagement staff.

Also, they can access our Teacher in a Box curriculum. The Teacher in a Box series provides lesson plans and supplemental materials for novice teachers and novice debaters and cover Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Policy Debate.

Furthermore, all coaches are more than welcome to email our Education and Recognition Coordinator Lauren McCool with questions, concerns, and ideas.

Recognition

What are the types of recognition that students can earn?

In addition to awards for competitive success, students can earn the following awards and recognition from the National Speech & Debate association:

All American

Academic All American

District Student of the Year

William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year

National Exemplary Student Service Award

Graduation Honor Cords

Descriptions of and requirements for these awards can be found under the Honor Society tab.

What are the types of recognition that teachers/coaches can earn?

Coaches/Teachers at National Speech & Debate Association member schools are eligible for several awards that recognize their service to students, their schools, their communities, and the national organization. Those awards include:

Ruby and Diamond Coaching Awards

Hall of Fame

Distinguished Service Award

District Leader Commendations

Frank Sferra Director’s Commendation

James M. Copeland High School Coach of the Year Award

Middle School Coach of the Year Award

State Educator of the Year Award

National Educator of the Year Award

Descriptions of and requirements for these awards can be found under the Honor Society tab.

What are the types of recognition that schools can earn?

The National Speech & Debate Association highlights the academic value of speech and debate activities within school systems. Every year, schools from across the country are awarded for their commitment to speech and debate activities and the learning opportunities they provide to their students. Those awards include:

Charter Status

100 & 200 Club Awards

High School Principal of the Year Award

Middle School Principal of the Year Award

Descriptions of and requirements for these awards can be found under the Honor Society tab.

What are the types of recognition that schools can earn as part of the National Tournament?

During the annual National Tournament highly successful programs can earn awards based upon their competitive success. Those awards include:

Bruno E. Jacob Trophy

Schools of Outstanding Distinction

Speech or Debate School of Excellence

Speech or Debate School of Honor

Senator Karl E. Mundt Sweepstakes Trophy

The Unger Cup

Descriptions of and requirements for these awards can be found under the Honor Society tab.

Interp FAQs

See all

Interp

Are works by Dr. Seuss considered prose or poetry?

Dr. Seuss is noted for writing stories in meter. For purposes of Program Interpretation (which requires the use of at least two of the recognized genres of literature of prose, poetry, and drama), as well as for our supplemental events of prose and poetry, works by Dr. Seuss may be used as either prose or poetry.

Keep in mind that this may not apply to all tournaments – for example, many states have their own, specific rules with regard to genres of literature and what is included in each.

Can I pull material from across a trilogy?

Each work in a trilogy (each play, book, etc.) is a single source. In Duo, DI, and HI students may only perform one work from a trilogy. POI allows you to pull materials from multiple works.

Does off-stage focus apply to eyes, body, or both?

Here is the full question:

The rules say, “In Duo Interpretation, focus may be direct during the introduction [the performers may look at each other] but must be indirect [off-stage] during the performance itself.” Is looking at each other considered looking each other in the eyes, their body, or both? In other words, could a performer look at the hand of their partner during a performance?

That is an excellent question, and the answer may be interpreted differently depending upon regional norms (there may even be variation in your specific state – some states have limitations in movement and focus delineated in their rules). In some contexts, only eye contact would be a violation of that rule, whereas in other contexts, looking directly at your partner in any way may result in lower scores by the judges.

To be safe in most contexts, you may want to gaze past the hand itself (the hand will be in your peripheral vision so you can tell where you are) so that you maintain offstage focus.

May I touch the floor or lie on the floor during my performance?

The NSDA rules are silent with regard to touching the floor or lying on the floor. It is a choice that interpreters may make. Although students may not be disqualified for touching the floor, judges can take movement into consideration in the overall evaluation of a student’s performance.

Keep in mind that other organizations, including specific states, may have rules with regard to interacting with the floor, in addition to other limits on movement.

May I use a script I downloaded from Script-O-Rama?

Since Script-O-Rama is not a publisher (their scripts are linked to other websites), those scripts may not be eligible. Always look to the original website or source of the original PDF to determine if the site is on the approved websites list (if in html format) or if it meets the conditions for download (PDF / eBook).

May I walk around in Prose?

NSDA rules are silent with regard to movement in our interpretation events. It is a choice that interpreters may make. Although students may not be disqualified for walking in Prose or related events, judges can take movement into consideration in the overall evaluation of a student’s performance.

Keep in mind that other organizations, including specific states, may have rules with regard to movement that may differ from our rules.

What is the maximum word count for transitional material?

The National Speech & Debate Association does not have a specific word count for transitional material. However, this does not mean that any original material is acceptable. Changes to the script may only be used for the purpose of transition or to eliminate profane language. Transitions may be used to clarify the logical sequence of ideas. They are not to be used for the purpose of embellishing the humorous or dramatic effect of the literature.

Any word changes (to eliminate profane language) and/or additions (for transition) must be indicated clearly in ink on the script. Failure to clearly indicate the addition of words will be subject to disqualification.

If you have any questions about a script, please email info@speechanddebate.org with the subject line Interp Rules.

Where do I find a complete set of the interp rules?

The complete set of rules is located in our Unified Manual, which can be found here.

Be sure to read the complete sections on event rules as well as publication guidelines. Scroll to the bottom of the webpage for Frequently Asked Questions related to interp and to submit sites for review by our staff.

After reviewing the material if you have specific questions, just email us at info@speechanddebate.org with the subject line Interp Rules.

May I use song lyrics in my interp pieces?

The NSDA considers song lyrics to fall under the category of poetry. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1) The lyrics must be print-published or available on our approved websites list (currently, there are no song lyric sites that are eligible to be listed on our approved websites list). The most common sources for song lyrics are print-published sheet music or musical scores. CDs with the original booklets containing song lyrics are eligible to be used. Albums with song lyrics printed on the original covers also may be used.

2) Events which require the material come from a single source (DI, HI, and DUO for example) may not add song lyrics unless the lyrics are found in the original, single source.

3) Music lyrics may not be transcribed by the performer – performers and coaches should read the complete set of interp rules found in the Unified Manual.

What about Mushroom Cloud Press? Or SpeechGeek? Can we still use those sites?

Yes, SpeechGeek, Mushroom Cloud Press, Playscripts, and other similar websites sell scripts in PDF format. Under the new rules, you may use PDFs that are professionally produced from these types of companies. If you are not certain if a PDF is from a recognized publisher, please email us at info@speechanddebate.org with the subject line Interp Rules.

What about Button Poetry? Or The Moth? Why can’t I use these sites?

Button Poetry and The Moth are high-profile examples of the power of the spoken word. Current rules do not allow for transcribing content from videos or podcasts. However, both Button Poetry and The Moth publish some collections of their stories in print form. Check out their websites for more information.

May I use anything on one of the approved websites?

Content on the approved websites must be in html format. For example, you may not transcribe a video posted on one of the approved websites. In addition, content that violates other provisions of the rules, such as organizational Twitter feeds or other social media that are embedded on the main site, may not be approved. If you have specific questions, please email info@speechanddebate.org with the subject line Interp Rules for further clarification.

May I use YouTube or other video sites?

No, YouTube videos are not allowed to be transcribed. Movie scripts may not be transcribed and sites that allow for users to upload personal transcriptions of movies are also not allowed.

Under the new Interp rules, can I use a downloadable PDF?

Yes, you may use a PDF, provided that it is from a publication company (students may not create their own PDF).

Are Kindle or Nook acceptable under the new interpretation rules?

Yes, provided that the works are available from publication companies (students may not create their own ebooks). Students must provide an eReader for script checks.

May I use content from a periodical website, such as The New York Times or Time Magazine?

Yes, websites with editorial review are eligible for use. However, they must be submitted for review and approval and appear in our list of approved websites before being used in competition.

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